tv NBC Nightly News NBC July 16, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on our broadcast this friday night, the cap on the oil well seems to be holding. but if it's not permanent, now what? have you ever wondered who decides if after all this gulf seafood is safe for the rest of us to eat? tonight, we'll meet them. damage control. the boss answers the big tion today. will apple recall the iphone 4 to address that dropped call problem? and making a difference for people and their beloved animals who have fallen on hard times. people and their beloved animals who have fallen on hard times. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. reports from the gulf of mexico haven't really been optimistic in any way for going on three months. but tonight, the prognosis is being described as muted optimism as the tests on that well have been going on now for more than 24 hours and so far no leaks, no rupture, no new oil on top of the ton they are already dealing with. just the sight of it turned off has a lot of folks in the region already worried that the media, the cameras, the concern will begin to go away. they know what a tough time they are in for. we begin with a progress report tonight from our own anne thompson in venice, louisiana, once again. anne, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. the tests will go on for at least a few more hours tonight as engineers and scientists try to figure out what those pressure readings inside the sealing cap really mean. you can see the difference on the surface above the damaged
well. the flames of the "discoverer enterprise" and "q4000" are out. no ship is collecting oil because, for a second day, the crude is not flowing. but there are concerns. >> i think we're to a point where there is enough uncertainty regarding what the meaning of the pressure is that we're seeing that we need to have due diligence moving forward and we need to be careful not to do any harm. >> reporter: after 24 hours, the pressure level is 6,700 pounds per square inch, an inconclusive reading that could mean so much oil has already flowed out that the pressure is lower than expected or there is a leak underground. president obama today praised the containment but warned it is not the ultimate fix. >> we won't be done until we actually know that we have killed the well and that we have a permanent solution in place. we're moving in that direction, but i don't want us to get too far ahead of ourselves.
>> reporter: in gulf shores, alabama, they aren't. >> what is this, about the eighth time they have tried to do something out there? i don't think any of us are confident that this is going to hold. >> reporter: in biloxi, mississippi, it wasn't containment but compensation that head gulf fund administrator ken feinberg face to face with frustration. >> i have my cancelled trips. my bank went and pulled all my statements, deposits, matched them up with check stubs. >> pay the man. >> reporter: this week, louisiana re-opened 86% of the state waters closed to sports fishermen, a huge relief to george hayes. >> i just love it. >> reporter: today's catch made governor bobby jindal smile for the first time in months. officials in louisiana hope commercial waters will re-open soon to pump money back into the state's economy and put louisiana seafood on america's dinner table once again. but that decision, like so much on the gulf coast, is on hold. now, as the test goes on at the government's insistence, bp is
going to step up its monitoring of the sea floor which, up to now, admiral allen says, has shown no signs of trouble. brian? >> anne thompson starting off at the end of an eventful week there in louisiana. thanks. when this oil is capped permanently then the healing in the gulf can begin. one local official, a parish president in louisiana said last night he fears oil will wash up for years to come. but those waters will get cleaner -- they have to -- and gulf seafood will come back. some of it is safe to harvest now, as you saw, but who ensures it's safe to be served to all of us in restaurants across the country? some answers tonight from nbc's thanh truong in new orleans. >> reporter: a major line of defense against oil-tainted seafood starts with a sniff. >> if it was a minor effect you would probably get a little bit of a gas taint to it or maybe a little bit of a slight petroleum taint to it. if it was more of a parts per
million it would be a nasal burn. >> reporter: gary lepinto is one of ten louisiana seafood inspectors specifically trained to examine seafood from state waters still open to fishing. since may they have taken 12,000 samples. >> to this date we haven't rejected anything coming in from open areas. >> reporter: in addition to sniffing for oil, they will also taste the samples when needed. the state's seafood industry hanging in the balance. a third of the seafood produced domestically comes from louisiana waters. >> we have a $3 billion plus industry that's at risk. >> this is puppy duck from lake pontchartrain. if it doesn't pass the smell test it is sent out to a lab for more analysis. once there the seafood undergoes chemical analysis, a process federal inspectors also follow. but even with these measures in place, there is widespread concern about what's coming from the gulf. mara's homemade in new york's
east village used to sell 6400 louisiana oysters a week. now only 200. >> first question people have when they call or come in is "where are they from, is it safe to eat?" >> reporter: at joey's shrimp house in chicago they are committed to buying gulf shrimp regardless of price or paranoia. >> our theme is 100% gulf. we either get it from the gulf or nowhere else. >> reporter: millions of pounds of louisiana seafood are shipped from the gulf each year. but how much of the fish makes it to the menu may depend on what inspectors can sniff out. thanh truong, nbc news, new orleans. fascinating story. now to another big topic on the minds of a lot of people -- the u.s. economy. consumer confidence plunged to the lowest levels we have seen in almost a year according to new numbers out today. the stock market went down along with it. the dow lost more than 261 points on this single day of trading. cnbc's senior economic reporter steve liesman is with us. steve, it's been a while since we spoke last.
as you know, these figures that are coming out lend fuel and credence to the fear that we are going to have what's called the double dip recession. you're coming up near a recovery only to fall down again. how real is it? >> i think the fear is very real right now on the street. not a lot of optimism on the economy, although most economists, including those at the federal reserve, say that's probably not what's going to happen. although looking at the consumer sentiment numbers today, it was the eighth biggest drop we have had. the kind of drop we have seen for example around 9/11 and consumer pessimism rose and also the financial crash back in october. so it's one that's very well worth watching, but so far the sense is that we have hit a soft patch here, brian, but not necessarily a double dip. >> how will we know the difference between a soft patch and a double dip? >> i think we'll see the gdp numbers turn negative, the job numbers turn negative. i think the sources of this are
in part it is the lack of job creation, but the numbers are still positive. they have been positive about six months and the question is going to be whether or not corporations who are sitting on about $1.7 trillion in cash, whether or not they start to spend it. we have seen the early signs of spending on capital expenditures. if that goes on, many economists think jobs would eventually follow. >> that's exactly why we invite you on the broadcast. we now understand it. steve liesman in our new york studio. steve, thanks. overseas a deadly first in mexico's bloody drug war -- a car bomb. authorities say gang members set a trap for police and used a cell phone to set off the bomb in the city of juarez, just across the border from el paso. four people were killed in the attack. in iran, a sunni insurgent group carried out a double suicide bombing outside a shiite mosque killed at least 27, wounded 300 more. we have learned a terrible statistic in this country this week. it is a grim new record for
america. in the month of june, 32 suicides among u.s. soldiers. it is part of a significant uptick since the start of the year. it's happening in the midst of two wars that the u.s. army is fighting. and despite a huge campaign to stop it. our report tonight from our pentagon correspondent jim miklaszewski. >> reporter: in april, army specialist jesse huff went to the veterans medical center in dayton, ohio, seeking help. instead, the 27-year-old iraq veteran, suffering from combat wounds and deep depression, shot and killed himself on the front steps. for the army, it's an agonizing trend. last month alone set a tragic record for suicides -- more than one per day. multiple combat tours, a bad economy and family troubles all create incredible stress on today's soldier. >> in a six-year period a young man or a young woman can have as many stressors as a normal american has throughout their entire life.
>> reporter: tom kelly received a medal of honor for valor in vietnam and now councils troubled soldiers. he believes coming home can be more stressful than combat. >> i think the readjustment stress is a bigger factor in leading to suicide, a feeling of hopelessness, that they can't get their life back together. that's where we step in and help. >> reporter: army sergeant coleman bean committed suicide after two tours in iraq. his mother linda launched a personal crusade to see that every soldier and veteran get the best possible medical help and counseling the military can provide. >> it shouldn't be the job of veterans to figure out how to help veterans. we are the ones who owe them the duty. >> reporter: the army has its own campaign to combat suicides, aggressively pushing soldiers to seek counseling at the slightest sign of trouble.
a new training video offers chilling accounts from soldiers pulled back from the brink. >> i grabbed the rifle off the wall, put my rifle up to my chin, put it on semi and i pulled the trigger. >> reporter: even medal of honor recipients banded together to put out the word. if in trouble, get help. >> the tools and the resources are here now. >> make use of those services and stay strong. >> reporter: they will need it as combat operations ramp up in afghanistan, and all that stress right along with it. jim miklaszewski, nbc news, the pentagon. the oldest member of the u.s. senate is being replaced by the youngest. west virginia's governor today announced his choice to temporarily fill the senate seat of the late robert byrd. carte goodwin is a lawyer who was, until recently, the governor's general counsel. he's 36 years old and will hold the seat until a special election in november. parts of the country are sweltering tonight. yes, it is summer, but in places the heat is almost too much to bear and then there is the power
grid to worry about. weather channel meteorologist chris warren is with us tonight with more on what's going on with the heat situation on the coast and in between. again, chris, we get that it's july, but we cover it when it does turn severe. >> and it certainly is hot. now, a report recently from noaa says that on a global scale, compared to average june, the warmest on record. all you have to do is go outside in most areas to feel the heat. take a look at the heat index. what we are looking at here -- this is the temperature with the relative humidity factored in. to give you an idea what it feels like when you go outside and triple digits from the southwest to the northeast, that was today. here is a look at tomorrow. still expecting to feel the sizzle. this is a look at the actual highs. what we are expecting, the forecast for tomorrow. plenty of 90s and, again, look at the southwest -- triple digits. factor in that relative humidity and we are looking at, again, another day of temperatures that
will feel like they are in the triple digits from the southwest to the northeast. brian, one more thing to think about. southwest, when you look at the hot and dry conditions, the southwest could see some thunderstorms and that will increase the threat for lightning and, thus, the potential for wildfires. >> and they are rolling into new york here later right on schedule. chris warren, as always, our thanks, from the weather channel. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, a new fix for the iphone that has problems placing telephone calls. and later, making a difference for some victims of economic hard times in ways we may not always think about. may not always think about.
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well, if you were expecting apple to admit that they had in any way produced a lemon, that didn't happen today when the patriarch, steve jobs, took the stage at a press event to answer the hubbub over the iphone 4. the fact that if you hold it a certain way, it drops telephone calls. some expected a kind of recall. what they got instead was a fix. nbc's george lewis was there. >> about what the problems really are -- >> reporter: at times, steve jobs was combative about all the negative publicity surrounding the iphone 4. >> this has been blown so out of proportion. >> reporter: it's been called antennagate. if you grip the phone a certain way, touching the steel bands on the outside that act as the antenna, the signal fades. >> that means you can lose a call if you're in a weak signal area and that's not acceptable.
>> reporter: consumer reports said because of that problem it could not recommend the iphone 4 to readers. today, jobs insisted competing smartphones have the same problem. many lose signal if gripped the wrong way. >> this is life in the smartphone world. phones aren't perfect. >> reporter: the fix, according to jobs, rubber bumpers that fit on the outside of the phones that prevent users from touching the antenna strips. he said users who are still dissatisfied with the phones can return them for full refunds. but even after that, consumer reports said it still could not recommend the iphone 4. >> the solution isn't permanent, so we are not going to change the status of the phone. >> reporter: one report, in blumberg news, said that apple's engineers warned about potential antenna problems before the iphone 4 was released but that jobs ignored the warnings. he was particularly incensed by
that. >> it's a total crock. we have challenged them to produce anything beyond rumors to substantiate that. >> reporter: bloomberg says it stands by the story. the iphone 4 has been a huge hit. more than 3 million sold since the introduction three weeks ago. >> i think they're great phones. >> i don't think it's worth the buy now. >> reporter: the ultimate verdict on the iphone 4 will be in their hands. george lewis, nbc news, cupertino, california. up next here, today's wake-up call in washington. wake-up call in washington. you may also have very high triglycerides -- too much fat in the blood. it's a serious medical condition. lovaza, along with diet, effectively lowers very high triglycerides in adults but has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or strokes. lovaza starts with omega-3 fish oil that's then purified and concentrated. it's the only omega-3 medication that's fda-approved.
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seven american sprinters who had their olympic medals from the 2000 sydney games stripped away because teammate marion jones was doping at the time had their medals reinstated today. a court of arbitration ruled that the women who won gold and bronze medals in relays should not have been disqualified by jones' infraction. a wake-up call for
washington, d.c., this morning where a lot of people looked at their bedside alarm clocks at 5:04 this morning and asked "what was that?" well, "that" was an earthquake. relatively small for d.c., it was centered in nearby maryland. there is some video showing the shake. the president, who happens to live in an old home made of sandstone, told reporters he didn't feel a thing. he may have been dreaming at the time of vacation. the first family arrived in maine. a rare flight on the small gulfstream jet serving as air force one, landing at bar harbor airport. they went hiking at acadia national park, cadillac mountain and then got ice cream, of course. the president told reporters he got a coconut ice cream cone. he then proceeded to pose with tourists visiting from germany. the obamas are there until sunday. the next big family event for them, eldest daughter malia goes to summer camp for the first
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our making a difference report tonight came from one of our viewers who told us about a woman in colorado who saw the toll that the recession was taking not only on her neighbors in the west but also on their horses. she had an idea -- a pretty simple idea really -- to donate bales of hay and as we hear now from nbc's kristen welker, the simple idea of making a difference did more than you might think in these hard times. >> are you guys ready to go for a ride? >> reporter: shanti and spirit have been a part of susan gordon's family for 14 years. >> i love you, guys. >> reporter: but in january, her husband, barry, was diagnosed with cancer. medical expenses piled up and susan had to think about selling her best friends because she couldn't afford to feed them. >> you need that relationship with the animal, i think, to heal. >> reporter: and to help with
susan's healing, amy riles is driving two hours to deliver 25 bales of hay to a person she's never met. >> just helping people in need. what america should be all about. >> reporter: riles started the nonprofit hay bank, one-time deliveries to horse owners who have fallen on hard times. amy had her own financial troubles a few years ago and her own horses helped her. >> sometimes i'd just stand in the barn for an hour with my face buried in the mane and cry. >> reporter: amy got back on her financial feet. since january, hay bank has helped 30 horse owners like susan gordon. >> it's kind of like having a little angel. >> reporter: it takes 15 bales of hay a month to feed a horse and keep it healthy. at $6 to $7 a bale that's not cheap. riles relies on donations and hard work from about 20 volunteers like guy duncan, a financial analyst who doesn't mind a little heavy lifting.
>> you don't want to see animals suffer. >> reporter: this rancher donated 10,000 bales of hay, enough to feed hundreds of horses. and the need is there. amy just wishes she could do more. >> some days i sit at my computer and i read applications for hay and the people who are hurting. it's sobering. >> reporter: but for folks like susan gordon and her family, it's everything. >> it's no big deal. >> reporter: kristin welker, nbc news, craig, colorado. and a reminder here. we rely on all of you to send us many of the ideas we end up profiling on the air in our making a difference series of reports. so if someone in your life and your community is making a difference, go to our website. let us know about them. that is our broadcast for this friday night and for this week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. lester holt will be here with you this weekend. we hope to see you back here on monday night. in the meantime, have a good